Defining “quality” as being inversely proportional to variability, and “quality improvements” as being the reduction of variability in processes and products, might now be a thing of the past. Even so, the history of the quality movement, with its strong focus on the elimination of deviations, continues to influence the thought and practice of modern quality management.
However, we believe it is time for a more profound approach in both thought and practice when it comes to deviations, and especially when it comes to operational deviations in the service sector. Deviation does not per se have to be a foe, in some cases it is, on the contrary, a constructive friend. In fact, current research on organizational ambidexterity shows that long-term survival requires the ability to simultaneously exploit and explore. The organizations of the future hence need the ability to both dynamically reduce and at the same time increase deviations: the challenge is to know when to repress and when to encourage deviation. Something which is referred to here as ambidextrous deviation management.
The aim of this paper is to elaborate conceptually and practically on the subject of how exploitation (being the traditional focus on quality management) and exploration (being a traditional focus of innovation management) could be integrated into the management of deviations and operations within service organizations.
Value of the Paper
The paper presents insights concerning how the need for organizational ambidexterity could be met by various approaches for dynamically managing and encouraging operational deviations in the service sector.
Deviation, Positive Deviation, Deviation management, Quality Management, Sustainable Quality Management, Organizational Ambidexterity